Thursday, August 16, 2012

Making It! Adventures in Quilting

I don't think I've ever tried to claim anything special about me and sewing. We are not a thing. We have never been a thing. We never even had a torrid one-night-stand.

My mom used to sew. I mean, she still does, but not like she used to. She used to make a great many of my clothes and all of my Halloween costumes. My mom and costumes - she makes the best costumes. I fail her completely by ordering something from a catalog every freakin' year for my kids. But I digress.

She tried to teach me. She sat me down and taught me to hand stitch, then there was a Strawberry Shortcake sewing machine. Then there was the Christmas Play Disaster of 1980-whatever year I was in fifth grade (1988? IDK. Too much mathiness.) That costume, which necessitated three trips to buy fabric because I kept cutting it out wrong was where my seamstress training ended. I was done, kaput, fini.

Every so often, I decide I want to sew and I try to make something waaaay more ambitious than my skills. The last time was around Christmas and I decided I was going to make notebook covers. They looked simple. They weren't. Apparently things like corners and tiny, tiny seam allowances are difficult. Who knew?*

I always fail spectacularly and decide that I am never touching thread again. Really, this time. No, really.

Then I break down again. Here's how it happened this time:

I went to the parent orientation for Maren. They told me (this was not in the packet, by the way) that she would need a crib sheet and a blanket for nap times. Pillow optional. Ummm... A couple of small issues, please.

  1. I know that some people keep their kids in a crib until their legs are too long to fit in them. I even get it, there is definitely something to be said about restricting the nighttime wanderings of a toddler. So sayeth the woman with a three-year-old in her bed every single night at 4:15 a.m. But, I am not one of them. Maren has been out of her crib for around two years. The kid who is now sleeping in her crib won't even be there very much longer. And all those crib sheets - gone. Sold, ripped up for fabric flowers, donated to Good Will. How should I remember? Just gone.
  2. I'm not much of a lap blanket kind of gal. We have baby blankets and we have twin sized blankets. We don't have much in between.
So, with a week and half to solve the problem, I tried not to completely panic. It's not that big of a deal, we'll come up with something. And after much discussion, my mom and I decided that we were going to make a quilt. Because present us with a problem and we will invariably come up with the most expensive and labor intensive solution possible. It's our talent.

Maren picked the fabric and then the kids went to their dad's for the weekend and mom and I quilted. And the funny thing was, I had a lot of fun.

Not just a "Look I survived and produced something that won't shame the kid," kind of fun, but boy howdy was that nifty fun. It was my first successful "real" quilt. I made a wall hanging once, but after piecing and quilting the whole thing (those are the hard parts, I'm pretty sure) I never got around to binding it, and this winter I made a rag quilt which was a lot of fun, but totally different from the quilts I grew up on. 

I learned a lot. I learned to embrace ironing, I learned how to tie a quilt (because that's what we did, not quilty-quilting - we had a weekend to do this, remember), I learned that I could have bought three blankets for what I put just into the fabric for this thing, I learned how to make bias tape (one more post apocalyptic skill) and I learned that sewing is more fun with company.

I told Brynna that she and I would make one for her. Because you know, I'm clearly an expert now. 

The important thing is that I made my annual forray into sewing and I didn't want to slit my wrists with my teeth by the end of it. I kinda want to do more. I'm not sure if I'm growing up or if this project was actually something my limited skill set could handle or if Nemo makes me happy. Whatever, bring on the sewing projects, Pinterest, I'm psyched.

*Anyone who has ever held a needle, that's who.


ann said...

I heart your blog soooooo much!! It might be my favorite. I'm not sure. But it's my favorite right now. Also, that quilt is ADORABLE, plus lots of other strong feelings about everything you just said.

Suze said...

LOVE! And that's my kind of quilt - big squares, ties instead of stitching - I've done a lot of those. It's beautiful!
Great post :)

Jessi said...

Ann - You are so sweet. Thank you so much!

Suze - Thanks! It's a pretty major accomplishment for me. But I think I've decided that I love tying. So much simpler and I honestly love the look.

Sharon said...

Oh, my dear you have truly missed your calling!!!! You left me wanting more...............when is the book release????

Jessi said...

Sharon - You are suuuuch a sweetie. Someday, I promise.